The National Association of Estate Agents has waded into the row created by the revelation that the government’s Help To Buy ISA is not - after all - going to help first time buyers with saving for a deposit for their home.
As EAT reported yesterday, the Daily Telegraph revealed that far from enjoying a 25 per cent bonus on savings put into the ISA, as originally suggested by former Chancellor George Osborne, the 25 per cent will now not be paid by the Treasury until the sale has completed. It can be used for running costs once the home has been purchased, but cannot be secured in time to help raise the all-important deposit.
“This is quite an extraordinary step from the government and providers to effectively change the goal posts for first time buyers who have saved in a Help to Buy ISA” according to Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.
“Consumers have been putting money aside on the basis that they believed it would be applied to their deposit on a new home; to now clarify that it is not actually available until completion is the perfect example of a painful lack of transparency and frankly nothing short of deception” he says.
“First time buyers are already struggling with getting on to the housing ladder and this much hyped initiative was welcomed at the time as a way of helping them, but in fact could have ended up costing buyers if they have gone ahead with a purchase believing that the bonus counted towards the deposit.”
Today the Daily Telegraph reports that the Treasury appears to be distancing itself from the confusion, instead implicitly suggesting the timing of the delivery of the 25 per cent bonus to first time buyers is decided by the savings organisations.